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Scientists Spot Yet Another Unexplained Ring-Shaped Radio Structure In Space

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Becky Ferrereira writes in Vice:

Scientists have spotted yet another bizarre, gigantic, and unexplained circle-shaped radio structure in outer space, a discovery that contributes to “exciting times in astronomy,” reports a new study.

The bubble is the latest example of an Odd Radio Circle (ORC), an aptly named type of spectral ring that debuted in a 2020 paper led by Western Sydney University astrophysicist Ray Norris. Norris and his colleagues detected four of these enormous circles eerily glowing in faint radio wavelengths far beyond our galaxy.

Now, scientists led by Bärbel Koribalski, a research scientist at CSIRO’s Australia Telescope National Facility, have discovered a fifth ORC that appears to span about one million light years.

This structure, named ORC J0102–2450, also looks like it has an elliptical galaxy at its center, a feature it shares with two of the ORCs found by Norris’ team. Koribalski and her co-authors, including Norris, said the presence of the galaxies is “unlikely a coincidence” and may help explain the origin of these ghostly rings, according to their forthcoming study in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters, which is available on the preprint server arXiv.

ORCs have flown under the radar for decades because they are extremely dim, but new and advanced radio telescopes, such as the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), are sensitive enough to spot the huge bubbles.

“Since ASKAP can see an area of 30 square degrees—a very large area—it is an excellent survey instrument, and the data collected will lead to many more discoveries,” Koribalski said in an email. “We typically observe one 30 square degree region for ~10 hours (if possible), then repeat these observations multiple times to increase the sensitivity of the field. The more sensitive, the more radio sources we detect.”

Koribalski and her colleagues combined eight ASKAP observations conducted between Aug 2019 and Dec 2020 to catch a glimpse of the newest member of the ORC family.

Because ORCs are so faint, . . .

Continue reading. There’s more, and also photos of ORCs.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 April 2021 at 3:32 pm

Posted in Science, Technology

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